Programme

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A logo for the 2023 WRI conference

Please find the outline programme for the Antimilitarist Roots conference below.

Participants will receive information about how to register for the workshops and theme groups in June by email.

For information on how to join the plenaries with speakers, please click here.

Thursday 15th June, 7-9pm: African Roots: War resistance and peacebuilding in the global south

Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DX

Speakers

  • Moses Monday John (South Sudan Organization for Nonviolence and Development);
  • Sherly Fabre (Haiti/USA International Fellowship of Reconciliation);
  • Matt Meyer (International Peace Research Association);
  • and Selam Kidane (Eritrean human rights activist)

The Pan African Nonviolence and Peace-building Network (PANPEN) was founded in 2012 around planning meetings for the War Resisters' International South African Assembly. Since then, the network has served as a centre for African grassroots groups and individuals as well as Afro-descendents and their allies throughout the Diaspora. The dynamism of revolutionary nonviolence evident in south-south collaborations and sharing of best practices remained evident at PANPEN's tenth anniversary meetings held in Juba, South Sudan last November. This evening - produced in cooperation with PANPEN, WRI, and The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) - will review the history and future prospects of strategic civil resistance throughout Africa and the Global South.

Friday 16th June-Sunday 18th June, Antimilitarist Roots: Nonviolent resistance for a world in crisis

  Friday 16th June Saturday 17th June Sunday 18th June
9am Gathering and welcome Gathering and welcome Gathering and welcome
9:30-10:30 Participatory plenary:
Where are you from? Where do you work? How is militarism experienced?

Participatory plenary:
What are our challenges? what are our opportunities?

Plenary speakers

10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-12:15 Workshops (see details below)
12:15-1:30 Lunch
1:30-3:30

Theme groups

The theme group spaces will be an opportunity to meet with the same group of participants for more in-depth discussions about particular issues. The theme groups we are planning to host are:

  • Militarisation of borders
  • Countering the militarisation of youth
  • Police militarisation
  • Conscientious objection
  • Climate crisis
  • Global military spending/arms trade
  • Extractivism and land rights
  • Queer perspectives
  • Antimilitarist Parenting
  • Responding to everyday militarism
  • Responding to crisis: what solidarity can WRI organise?

We will send out a form to conference participants in the weeks ahead of the event to confirm which theme group you would like to participate in.

3:30-4:00 Break
4:00-5:00

Plenary speakers

Plenary speakers

Participatory plenary and closing:
... now what?

Speaker bios

Chief Namoks (John Ridsdale)

Chief Namoks stood by a river dressed in traditional regalia

Chief Na’Moks is a Hereditary Chief of the Tsayu (Beaver Clan), one of the Five Clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. The Traditional Name he carries is thousands of years old, as a Matrilineal Society, his grandmother carried the same name and wore the very same Regalia. The duties of Hereditary Chiefs are to protect the entirety of the 22,000 square Kilometers of Wet’suwet’en Territories they are responsible for, and to protect them for the generations yet to come. The authorities and jurisdiction of the Hereditary Chiefs have not changed, both pre and post-contact.

Evyatar Moshe Rubin

A photo of Evyatar speaking at a protest

Evyatar Moshe Rubin, from Jerusalem, is a human rights activist and conscientious objector with the Israeli Refusers Network 'Mesarvot'. Evyatar has spent 122 days in the military prison for his refusal to enlist in the Israeli military due to the occupation of the the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and his objection to the Zionist project as a whole

Sahar Vardi

A picture of Sahar outside. She has long brown hair and is smiling.

Sahar Vardi is an anti-militarism and anti-occupation activist from Jerusalem. She is a conscientious objector, and has been part of the Israeli refusal movement for over a decade. In recent years she led the Israel program for the American Friends Service Committee, where she helped establish the Database on Israeli Military and Security Export, and developed research and campaigns against Israeli arms export and the human rights violations associated with the industry. She recently graduated from the Rotary Peace Fellowship at the University of Bradford in the UK where she wrote her dissertation on military climate mitigation plans.

Olga Karach

A picture of Olga. She has short blonde hair and is wearing a bright red coat.

Olga Karach is a feminist and peacebuilder. She is the head of the Belarusian human rights organization in exile “Our House”, which has been active since 2005. Olga works as a human right defender, supporting the most vulnerable groups, such as women, children, LGBTI, and refugees for years. Olga has been awarded the Human Rights Award of the City of Weimar (Germany), International Bremen Peace Award (Germany), Radebeul Courage Prize in (Germany), Amnesty International (Belarus). Now "Our House" is running a "No means No" campaign to defend the rights of conscientious objectors in Belarus.

Helen Kidan

A photo of Helen

Helen Kidan gained her BA in Politics & Third World Studies and MA International Relations from Middlesex University. She co-founded Horn Human Rights in 1998 as the result of the eruption of the border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Helen then co-founded Eritrean Youth in the UK in 2003 initially for young Eritreans raised in the UK but as a result of the exodus of Eritrean youth from Eritrea it broadened its scope. Helen currently is the Chair of Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights which is based in South Africa. She has actively been advocating and lobbying at international fora in respect to the ongoing human rights violations that continues unabated in Eritrea.  Helen has presented at the UN Human Rights Council, UN headquarters, African Commission on Human & Peoples' Rights and other international conferences promoting human rights.

Marta Macías

A photo of Marta. She has short ginger hair and is wearing a necklace.

Marta Macías is a 23-year-old climate activist and anti-militarist living in the Spanish State. She is currently a humanities student. She participates in various environmentalist and antimilitarist political movements.

 

 

 

Camila Rodríguez 

Camila's photo

Camila is a Muysca indigenous woman from the Fonquetá and Cerca de Piedra Reservation in Cundinamarca, a mother, an anti-militarist, and a defender of collective and environmental rights. A social professional, Camila is a candidate for a Master's degree in research in socio-environmental studies at FLACSO, and a member of RAMALC (Red Antimilitarista de América Latina y el Caribe) and the indigenous movement in Colombia.

 

 

 

Milan Sekulović

An image of Milan Sekulovic sat behind a table, giving a presentation

Milan Sekulović is a Montenegrin journalist, environmental and peace activist. He was born and raised on the pastures of Mount Sinjajevina, for whose protection he is fighting today. He graduated from the Faculty of Political Sciences in Podgorica with a journalism program. In his professional journalistic career, he predominantly deals with topics related to human rights and social justice. Since 2018, he has been a civil activist and fights against the militarization of Mount Sinjajevina, as well as the protection of mountain areas in Montenegro.

 


Workshops (Friday 16th June)

What do you wanna defend? And (how) can you do this nonviolently?    

In this Interactive workshop we want to talk about what we think is worth defending and on how we could do this without weapons.

Vow from Hiroshima: Film and Discussion

A powerful film about 2 women and their experiences of the A-bombing in 1945 and lives of activism following. It ends with the Nobel Peace Award& the UN Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Very positive & inspiring call for action.

Return of Conscription

An exchange of information on the situation and debates in countries where conscription has recently been reactivated and where reactivation is under discussion. We will also consider thed evelopment of counter-strategies.

Revolutionary Nonviolence, Resistance Studies and Peace Education

This fully interactive conversation will look at the diverse ways in which "peace education" (broadly defined) has and can enhance our work building for nonviolent social change. From long-time WRI Indian leader Devi Presad's queries about "Peace Education or Education for Peace?" to Latin American popular education broadsides to contemporary resistance studies and peace teachings in Africa and North America and everywhere, we'll share experiences and resources drawing on the work and ideas of everyone in attendance. Participants are encouraged to bring samples of peace education they've used or liked, but they can also come with nothing more than curiosity and an interest in learning/teaching/activating!

Mobilisations and intensifying opposition to the weapons corporations

THE Australian based anti weapons group Wage Peace balances analysis and action using  'location based storytelling' at its heart. This storytelling integrates place, corporation, weapons impacts and realities..but also centres on First Nations peoples' experience and voices as a solidarity focus. We've been watching Australia be taken over by weapons corporations over the past 5 years as more and more money is made available and extracted from the CommonWealth.

We use Soft blocks and occupations in non fortified offices, events and hotels. And we use live feeds to build an audience ... Or base.  We then mobilise this base at weapons events where we have built skills in mobility and flexible action teams. This time we want to explore HOW TO INTENSIFY AND ESCALATE. 

Workshops (Saturday 17th June)

Confronting militarised masculinities - Mobilising men for feminist peace

Militarised masculinities are socially-constructed gender norms that associate masculinity with power, violence and control. These norms are enabled by institutions that heroise violence and fund the war system. Militarized masculinities shape, and are shaped by, institutions, communities and intimate lives. Decisions on war, politics, the economy, and security largely exclude consideration for and the participation of women and gender analysis. To address these issues in a holistic way, WILPF initiated the Mobilising Men for Feminist Peace Programme (MMFP). With a from local to global to local approach, the programme supports initiatives at country level with diverse focuses, such as: engagement of religious and traditional leaders in support of women’s political participation and feminist peace; structural drivers of economic and gender inequality; peace process and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda; antimilitarism education with young people; conscientious objection campaigns, among others. The workshop will share the work of WILPF work on antimilitarism and its militarised masculinities programme, including conscientious objection approaches and practices; discuss with workshop participants the MMFP framework analysis on militarised masculinities; and share the work of WILPF Colombia on antimilitarism and feminist peace, including its campaign and tools on Conscientious Objection.

World Peace is Possible - the way to achieve it

A brief history of past wars and give the reasons for heir happening. Explain the changes in nature between those wars and modern wars (from World War One until today's wars. Analyse them for a few minutes from a socio-political, religious, cultural and economic point of view. Look at current wars and armed conflicts worldwide. Explain the role of politicians and diplomats in creating the violent world we live in. I welcome questions and debate and I ask questions to the audience.

"There is no substitute for the freedom not to kill." |“No hay nada que sustituya la libertad de no matar”

Sharing reflections on the different situations of substitute service to military service in various contexts is part of the WRI 2023 conference. In this workshop we will identify possible forms of collaborative action (exchange of relevant information, solidarity actions) between persons and organizations that promote antimilitarism, which can enrich the possibilities for action in the Colombian context and situation

Constructive Programme

Constructive programme is an approach to social change in which we build the social institutions we want – ones that embody values and principles of nonviolence and justice – right in the middle of the societies that we seek to change. This will be an interactive workshop, exploring where and how to organize constructive programmes,. We’ll highlight the importance of defining shared values, of fostering community, and of taking time for regular analysis and evaluation. We will explore:

  • Where can constructive programme efforts fit into your organizing for social change?
  • What costructive programmes already exist in your community?
  • In your community, how might a constructive programmes collaborate with local resistance campaigns?

Adbusting military recuitment campaigns

How can this creative protest method be used to challenge military recruitment?

Workshops (Sunday 18th June)

Resisting armed drones and AI locally and internationally:  an opportunity for reflection, discussion, and future action 

This workshop will be an opportunity to discuss campaigning against the use of armed drones and the rising use of AI in warfare.
 
Armed drones are rapidly proliferating and are being used in many armed conflicts, causing significant civilian casualties and undermining international law.  Now, in many countries, plans are being drafted to allow military drones to fly in civilian airspace for "national defence", surveillance and border control purposes. The potential human and civil rights abuses here are enormous and could bring a broader group of organisations and individuals into alliance with our anti-war movements.
 
Armed drones are also a gateway to the development of autonomous weapons which are a particular and significant threat. Current campaigning in this area is primarily focused at the diplomatic-level, with little input from civil society groups or the public.  In what ways can the anti-war movement bring its experience and expertise in mobilisation to this issue? Should we and can we integrate local and national campaigning with international calls for action such as the new International Campaign to Ban Weaponized drones? And how can we better amplify and be led by the voices from communities victimised and better include military resisters?

War Resisters League (WRL) at 100

Founded 100 years ago this October as a secular militant pacifist organization, U.S.-based WRL is WRI's largest section. WRL (https://www.warresisters.org/) consists of people united in nonviolent opposition to all wars while seeking to remove the causes of war, including racism, sexism and all forms of exploitation. Throughout its 100 years, WRL has engaged in a wide variety of rabble-rousing campaigns and coalitions to confront conscription, segregation, nuclear weapons and power, police militarization and more. WRL’s tactical approaches have been broad, including organizing marches and rallies, nonviolence training programs, street speaking, pickets, poster walks, blockades, guerrilla theater, leafletting, nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience, die-ins, sit-ins, walk-outs, vigils, banner drops, occupations, draft card burnings, war tax refusal, and other confrontations with powers that be. WRL has held conferences, given out annual peace awards, produced magazines, peace calendars, and leaflets. Members and fellow travelers will offer their highlights from its 100 years.

Antimilitarism and conscientious objection in Finland

Give a brief overview into the current state of Finnish politics, the state of COs and most talked about prospects regarding recent parliamentary elections and the victory of a right-wing government coalition.

Conversations with activists from Eritrea 

In this 40-min session, we will have a conversation with activists from the Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR) and the Foundation Human Rights for Eritrea on the ongoing dire situation in Eritrea and their ongoing campaigns. 

Refusing Military Service in Turkey

In this 40-min session, we will hear from Conscientious Objection Watch (Turkey) specifically on the situation of conscientious objectors in Turkey and more generally on campaigning for human rights under ongoing political opression in the country.

Programmes & Projects

We have had a kind offer from an individual donor, who will match up to £5,000 of donations from others - so by supporting War Resisters' International today your donation is worth double!